Visiting Mission Santa Barbara

When it comes to things I like I tend to be a completist. I just had to read every work by L.M Montgomery, listen to every Bob Dylan album and watch every episode of the Twilight Zone. And don’t get me started on the AFI Top 100 List – if it weren’t for Taxi Driver and A Clockwork Orange I would have sailed through that puppy years ago. i tend to feel the same way in my explorations. Take the California Missions – I want to see them all and one by one I’m working my way through the list. On my recent weekend in Santa Barbara I managed to check off one more – Mission Santa Barbara.

Growing up in Orange County I spent many a day at Mission San Juan Capistrano and it remains my favorite to this day but throughout my travels I’ve discovered there’s something special about each one.

Mission Santa Barbara was founded in 1786 and is the 10th of the 21 California missions. To this day it’s an active parish and still houses a community of Franciscan monks. As such, it’s kept up beautifully and it’s gardens are a joy to walk through.

Bur, because it’s used so extensively much of it is not open to the public. I was really surprised by this as it seems so huge from the outside.

Nevertheless, the areas open for touring are quite special from the ancient cemetery to the beautiful worship space.

Mission Santa Barbara may not be my favorite California mission but I still found it a lovely place to spend the afternoon and, really, a trip to Santa Barbara is incomplete without a visit. At this point I’ve visited 11 California Missions – I’m halfway there! Which one should I head to next?

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